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Over to you... woody wants to see what youngsters are made of.

Byline: DOMINIC SHAW dominic.shaw@reachplc.com @DOMSHAWGAZETTE

MIDDLESBROUGH'S players are stepping up their pre-season programme in Austria this week, with Jonathan Woodgate outlining what he wants to learn about his squad during the trip.

After a light session on Saturday evening at their Bad Aussee training base following an early morning flight, the Boro squad had their first tough double session day yesterday, which will continue in the build-up to their first friendly of the summer against Grazer AK on Friday.

I want to much desire got, how Woodgate and his coaching team are keen to work on fitness this week but the emphasis will still be on football.

For the head coach, though, the trip is about learning about his squad as people and not just players, particularly where the youngsters are concerned, with 14 Academy players, plus Marcus Tavernier, making the trip.

"I want my players to be fit at the end of the week," said Woodgate.

"They're getting there now but Austria is a different experience. It will be tough.

"There will be double sessions every day, I want to see how much desire they've got, how much enthusiasm they bring and just how they are in general."

Woodgate added: "I know all the young players but I don't know their personalities, who they knock about with and how they are as people. I'll get to know that. It's a big opportunity for them."

see how they've much enthusiasm.

The youngsters out in Austria are at varying stages of their development. Players such as Connor Malley and Djed Spence will be hoping to force their way into the first team fold this season, while for others who are not as far down the line it's a great learning experience. Hayden Hackney, the youngest member of the squad, turned 17 only last week.

Jonathan Woodgate has made it known he's willing to give youngsters an opportunity this season. Now it's over to them to impress.

"They've all got a really good chance, it's brilliant for them to be part of the squad in Austria," said the head coach.

"The opportunity is there but they have to take it. They have to grasp it with both hands, it's there for them, they've got to take it.

"And to be fair, in the first week's training they showed how much they want it."

Woodgate loved every minute of his first week as head coach and is delighted with his coaching team.

Robbie Keane, Leo Percovich and Danny Coyne have all settled in quickly and Woodgate was also keen to praise other members of the backroom staff.

"To get Robbie, Leo and Danny in was great but also in the backroom staff I've got Frankie Hunter in there. She's really, really good, really thorough and organised.

"We've got John Thrower as well from within, who is equally as good.

"They're both great with the players, they get their point across and everyone listens.

"The players are enjoying it. It's hard work but if you get the ball out and you're doing hard work with it, you get more from them.

"And I'm really enjoying it. I was prepared from the off and my staff are brilliant, they're all helping me enormously, it's all running really well."

session which the will The youngsters Austria are stages Players and force into team season, others as far down I want to see how much desire they've got, how much enthusiasm. Jonathan Woodgate

CAPTION(S):

At 17, Hayden Hackney is the youngest member of the squad ian cooper
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUAU
Date:Jul 1, 2019
Words:594
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